The Trump administration placed sanctions on Wednesday on leading Russian-backed officials in Crimea, The Washington Post reports.
Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said the U.S. action “reiterates our unwavering support for restoring free and fair democratic political processes in Crimea.”
The action gave a subtle cold shoulder to the Crimean officials, preceding each one’s title with “so-called.” Among them was Yuri Gotsanyuk, the “so-called Prime Minister of the so-called Republic of Crimea.” Other officials facing sanctions include the governor, the chairman of the legislative assembly and several members of the Sevastopol election commission.
Also blacklisted is the Grand Service Express, a Moscow-based private railroad that offers passenger service between Crimea and the Russian mainland over what the Treasury Department called the Kerch Strait Bridge. Russians have called it the Crimean Bridge since construction was completed last month, another marker of Russian sovereignty.
The United States has never recognized Moscow’s seizure of Crimea and still considers it a part of Ukraine.